- Overwatch 2’s roadmap for 2024 promises new heroes, maps, game modes, and story content, indicating a potential resurgence for the game.
- The leadership changes with Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard could bring improvement and a more nuanced approach to Overwatch 2’s development.
- New content for Overwatch 2 includes three new heroes with unique abilities, a new game mode called Clash, additional PvE content, collaborations, and exciting changes to the battle pass and competitive mode.
The past few years have proven to be difficult for Blizzard’s hero-shooter, Overwatch 2. However, while 2023 brought several significant challenges and issues, 2024 may be a better year for Overwatch 2 if the roadmap for Season 9 and beyond is anything to go off. With new heroes, maps, game modes, and story content planned for this year, it seems the FPS has all the tools at its disposal for a potential resurgence.
With Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Overwatch 2‘s leadership team may see improvement, though it’s too early to say for certain. Though the December 2023 departure of former CEO Bobby Kotick hinted at a shift in direction, Microsoft’s retention of other leadership figures suggests a more nuanced approach. This balancing act between change and established experience could very well determine the future of Overwatch 2. Regardless, despite the uncertainty surrounding the managing team, 2024 has already promised a plethora of fresh content.
Overwatch 2 Charts a New Course
Three New Overwatch 2 Heroes Will Be Released In 2024
BlizzCon 2023 unveiled a tantalizing glimpse into the future of the hero-shooter, with Team 4 teasing three mysterious heroes poised to join the fray: Venture, “Space Ranger,” and an unnamed tank character. It’s been verified that Venture will be debuting in Season 10, around late April or early May, whereas the support hero code-named “Space Ranger” is set to launch in Season 12. This timeline charts the new tank’s release around Season 14.
As the first DPS in Overwatch 2 since Sojourn, expectations are high. Even though some footage of Venture, a non-binary Canadian DPS, was shared at BlizzCon 2023, it was brief. Nevertheless, Venture’s ability to delve underground could redefine how DPS players flank and deal damage. Their main features are as follows, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Primary Fire: an AoE explosive projectile
- Dash: grants 50 Shield HP and damages enemies in their path
- Burrow: travel underground in any direction with a brief AoE damage effect upon emergence
- Lore that may connect them to the archeology of Petra
Venture’s damage numbers and cooldown statistics are based on the gameplay shared at BlizzCon 2023. This is subject to change by the time they officially debut.
At the moment, not much is known about “Space Ranger” other than the fact that she hails from a colony on Mars and takes her battles in the air. Some hope Space Ranger will be like Mercy in terms of healing and movement, though others are hoping she receives a kit similar to Lucio. Since she is being marketed as an extremely mobile hero with an emphasis on verticality, players are hoping she’ll be skill-intensive.
Intriguingly, the unreleased tank character has even less information to go off of than “Space Ranger.” A few eagle-eyed fans noticed an unknown Overwatch 2 tank on the hero selection screen of the video showing Venture’s gameplay, situated between Sigma and Winston. The portrait details a spiky green-haired figure that people are speculating to be Sound Quake, a character that was first hinted at in the 2014 Overwatch Cinematic Trailer. If this theory is true, the tank will likely be equipped with chest missiles.
Overwatch 2’s PvP, PvE, and Arcade Modes in 2024
Typically, between new hero releases, Blizzard releases a fresh game mode or map. For example, the season before the Samoan warrior Mauga debuted in Overwatch 2, players were introduced to the Samoan control map. For 2024, the developers disclosed that a game mode called Clash is currently in the works alongside new additions to Hero Mastery, a Hero Mastery Gauntlet mode, and additional PvE content.
Clash mode will function similarly to Flashpoint, except with five linear capture points. A team will win either by making it through all five points or by capturing more than the opposing team. The countdown for this new mode has begun, but the exact release date is still a mystery. When it does launch, a rework of the iconic 2CP map Hanamura, now called Hanaoka, will serve as one of the first maps for Clash.
Mechanical enthusiasts yearning for a skill-testing challenge can look forward to Hero Mastery Gauntlet. Hero Mastery Gauntlet was described as a three-player PvE co-op mode focused on tower defense. There are several features to expect in Hero Mastery Gauntlet:
- Attacking training bots
- Defending up to three towers at a time
- Interactive POIs that can call down air strikes or trigger group healing
- Custom rewards and challenges
- A seasonally rotating cast of playable heroes
Additionally, since there are currently ten heroes available or releasing soon in Overwatch 2‘s Hero Mastery mode, that leaves Blizzard with 29 other heroes to create courses for. This excludes characters being released in 2024 or beyond. With Hero Mastery set to receive new challenges fairly regularly, it seems there will be a steady stream of content throughout the year.
According to Executive Producer Jared Neuss, players won’t see any additions to the “Invasion” narrative from August 2023 until Season 9 or later. When this storyline will be explored again is undetermined at this point. Even so, in the same vein, the community can expect more replayable PvE content like the Diablo crossover mode “Trials of the Sanctuary” to appear in the arcade in the coming seasons.
Furthermore, each season in Overwatch 2 ushers in a fresh theme, and its spirit often spills over into related arcade modes. Annually recurring events such as the dating simulator, Loverwatch, may return in February, whereas the Summer Games will probably resurface around July along with Winter Wonderland in December. A second-anniversary celebration is also estimated for September and October.
Overwatch 2 Collaborations, Battle Passes, and Events
Overwatch 2‘s developers have already confirmed that the first half of 2024’s collaborations have been finalized. Aimee Dennett, Blizzard’s associate director of game product management, stated that the team has more collaborations planned than the ones that were released in 2023. Many crossovers that would be perfect for Overwatch 2, so narrowing down what they might be can be difficult.
That being said, there have been whispers of more anime partnerships, such as an Overwatch 2 crossover with Dragon Ball Z. These rumors began circulating following an interview in March 2023 with Art Director Dion Rogers postulating how the heroes might look in themed attire. Moreover, since Microsoft acquired Blizzard, crossovers for games like Halo and Minecraft are more viable now. Neuss implied that Overwatch 2 is interested in more video game collaborations in addition to more celebrity partnerships after the success of the LE SERRAFIM collaboration.
For Overwatch 2‘s battle passes, teasers have already alluded to themes coming this year centered around Eldritch Horror, Mirror Universe, and Egyptian mythology. A December survey sent out by Blizzard also gauged interest in a variety of different concepts, including galaxy and feline-inspired cosmetics, Norse mythology, and Alice in Wonderland-esque attire.
Of course, surveys do not guarantee that skins will make their way into the game.
Exciting news has also suggested that major changes are coming to the battle pass like mythic skins with more customizations than the ones from Season 6 and beyond. Building on this, during SVB’s Group Up podcast, Neuss indicated that heroes will no longer be part of the battle pass and instead be available on day one. He commented that it’s something the developers want to address since “there is a point of time where a team has an advantage.”
While future mythic skins will have more customizable options, Team 4 has stated it won’t be as diverse as Season 1’s Mythic Cyber Demon Genji skin.
Overwatch 2’s Competitive Plans for 2024
For Seasons 9 and after, Overwatch 2 is set for a huge competitive rework. This includes:
- A new placement system
- A rank added above Grandmaster called Ultimate
- 5-stack availability in Grandmaster
- A new group matching system
- Emerald weapons
Blizzard is also considering adding hero bans to Overwatch 2 which are currently being internally tested. This might include a new feature called “swap tokens.” Lead hero designer Alec Dawson noted that hero bans will not hard launch into the game if it does come to fruition. Instead, it will likely appear in an experimental game mode, or in the Arcade first, to observe if this is a beneficial change.
Lastly, though the Overwatch League has officially ended, a new direction for Overwatch 2‘s professional esports scene is on the way. There’s plenty of speculation as to what this could entail, but nothing official has been revealed yet. Regardless, since the Overwatch World Cup is a separate entity from the Overwatch League, fans should expect to see the event return this year with preliminaries in the summertime and finals in the fall.
- October 4, 2022
- Platforms That Support Crossplay
- PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One & Xbox Series X|S